“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” —Philippians 1:3-6
Nancy and I have a good friend who put herself through college waiting on tables at a drive-in. One of the reasons she got the job was because she was good on roller skates. Yes, roller skates. She had more than a few good stories about her days rolling around the restaurant serving her customers. Most of the time, these stories came up when we were out together at a restaurant and the issue of tipping came up. She wanted me to become a better tipper. I’m working on it. (more…)
“I understood that, with divine passion, God wants to love us to fulfillment, and I understood that for this to happen we must surrender to him every single key to the kingdom of self. I understood, without realizing it, our spiritual life is often as not self-seeking. We are intent on creating a beautiful self into which God will be privileged to enter! We want to feel we are good, pure and holy; we want to be lifted up out of the drab reality of our human condition. We want a holiness of our own. I understood that God, in his love, must destroy this self-seeking and that our happiness depends on our allowing him to do so”
—Ruth Burrows, OCD, in “Love Unknown”
Of Wolves and Lambs and Woody Allen
“The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
the calf and the young lion will feed together,
and a little child will lead them.”
(Isaiah 10:6, Common English Bible)
Commenting on this passage (and misquoting), Woody Allen once quipped, “The wolf may lie down with the lamb, but the lamb will not get a good night’s sleep.” (more…)
The book I am reading now is “My Bright Abyss: Meditation of Modern Believer” by Christian Wiman, a writer whose prose and poetry I admire. He comes to the Christian faith as something of an outsider (or former insider returning), as someone grasped by a faith in God, a faith he elsewhere describes as both tenuous and tenacious. Reading him, one is struck by the clarity with which he pursues the questions raised in his life by an experience of God’s presence during a time of great personal suffering and danger, an experience which revealed his latent faith in God, faith he was unaware of until it appeared to him in a flash of recognition. Here is an extended passage from his book: (more…)
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
June 26, 2016
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar calls it “stinkin’ thinkin.’” He’s talking about people who approach life with a negative attitude. Do you know anyone like that?
Whether or not it’s justified, New York cabdrivers are notorious for having a bad attitude. A man approached one such driver in New York. “Take me to London,” the potential fare said. The cab driver told him that was not possible. He couldn’t drive across the Atlantic Ocean. The customer insisted it was possible. “You’ll drive me down to the pier; we’ll put the taxi on a freighter to Liverpool; when we get there, you’ll drive me to London, where I’ll pay you whatever is on the meter.”
That sounded pretty good to the driver. He agreed to make this absurd journey. When they arrived in London, the passenger paid the total on the meter, plus a $1000 tip. Even a New York cabdriver couldn’t complain about that, but what was he to do now? How would he get back home? He roamed aimlessly around London for awhile not knowing quite what to do. Then an Englishman hailed him and said, “I want you to drive me to New York.” The cabdriver couldn’t believe his good luck. How often do you pick up a guy in London who wants to go by cab to New York? When the passenger began to say, “First, we take a boat …” the driver cut him off. (more…)
June 12, 2016
You know, friends, I have to admit to a certain amount of reluctance to step in the pulpit this morning and speak to you about liberated women. You need but look around to notice that the majority of the congregants here this morning are women. And, I am about to embark for Annual Conference where the majority of those being ordained will be women. And shall we include the fact that, for the first time in history, a woman will be a leading candidate for President of the United States? But I am a brave soul. And I will take a stab at being an authority on liberated women.
Barbara Walters, formerly of television’s 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years ago before the current Afghan war. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husband.
She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands. From Barbara’s vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands, and are happy to maintain the old custom. (more…)